Property values continue to flatten out across New Zealand, with slow conditions in Auckland spreading to other centres. According to figures from Quotable Value (QV), average dwelling prices have already dropped in Hamilton and Christchurch and are starting to falter in Wellington and Dunedin. While nationwide property values still increased slightly from June to July, conditions are changing dramatically as regional and provincial centres drive growth rather than Auckland and other cities.
According to figures from QV, the average value of homes in the Auckland region dipped slightly between June and July, from $1,045,059 to $1,044,303. Values were down across the region, with Rodney, North Shore, Waitakere, Manukau, Papakura, and Franklin all recording a slight decline and only the central Auckland suburbs managing to rise in value. "The Auckland residential property market is still cooling, with sales volumes down more than 30% below the same period last year, while there are twice as many properties listed on the market as there were... This is meaning properties are generally taking longer to sell." said James Steele from QV.
It seems other centres are following Auckland's lead, with average values also down in Waikato, Taupo, Wellington, Nelson, Christchurch, and Dunedin. According to David Comford from QV, "The Wellington market continues to slow and residential property values have largely flattened over the last two months... Sale numbers are down compared to 12 months ago and this confirms there is less activity from both vendors and buyers." The Hamilton market remained stagnant over the month with an average dwelling price of $540,840, with Wellington down to $607,011, Christchurch down to $495,098, and Dunedin dropping to $373,857. According to QV National Spokesperson Andrea Rush, "Values continue to plateau in Auckland, Hamilton and Christchurch in a trend seen since October last year... Wellington and Dunedin are now experiencing a similar trend."
The situation is not the same everywhere, however, with prices still rising nationwide as some regional areas record strong growth. Tauranga, Rotorua, Whakatane, Napier, New Plymouth, Palmerston North, Porirua, Hutt Valley, Queenstown-Lakes, and Invercargill all managed to record a rise in value over the month, with the average dwelling value nationwide increasing from $639,051 in June to $641,280 in July. "The latest QV House Price Index figures show nationwide values are still rising, but this growth is now being driven by regional and provincial centres rather than the larger cities," said Rush.
Current conditions are not all bad, however, with a drop off in investment money driven by speculation creating new opportunities for first home buyers. While some sellers are taking properties of the market because they not receiving offers that meet their expectations, there are multiple reports of significant prices reductions across the country. With sales numbers and auction clearance rates down, however, some buyers and sellers seem to be waiting and watching until after the coming election to see how the market will react to changing conditions.
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